Dear Family and Friends,
Throughout the four days we have spent together in Springfield, we have been having a great time. After arriving at the St. Louis Airport, we squeezed into a large van and were driven by two great two guides, Dan and John to Springfield! The pointed out the St. Louis arch to us and we saw a lot of flat land with corn. Once we arrived at Temple Israel, we became closer as a group and “broke the ice”.
The next day we jumped right in to our first service activity at St. Johns Breadline which is a soup kitchen in the center of Springfield. We met a lot of interesting people there and learned a lot about interacting and serving low-income and homeless people. One of our staff members, Ze’ev, led the group in grace because St. Johns is a Christian organization. We were told by their staff that the end of the week is a busy time because people’s paychecks are running out and they are more in need of food. We also learned that Springfield is a diverse community and we will be helping all different kinds of people.
On Tuesday, we went to Kumler Ministries in the morning and were helping an effort to collect food for needy people in the area. We also met a Pastor Sylvester (aka Sly) who was very nice and we hope to see him again soon!
Following a great lunch at the park, we went to Habitat for Humanity to learn about their work and mission. We learned that there are millions of people that are homeless in the United States. We also found out the minimum wage in our country does not support an average family to live in a house with basic amenities. This made us appreciative of what we have and excited about what we will be doing to help people in the next six weeks.
After this meeting we finally went to the house (#85, named “The House of Love” by the Springfield Habitat) that we will be working on and were able to meet the home owner who was extremely appreciative of the work we will be doing. Some of the things that we did on the worksite were dry-walling, shoveling, digging out a base for the driveway, and insulating the outside of the house.
Wednesday morning we were able to sleep in a little late after a hard day of work. After breakfast as a group, we volunteered at MERCY Community which is a shelter for single mothers. We cleaned toys for children, sanded and painted tables, cleaned (a very dirty!) apartment, and did some yard-work.
Tonight we are meeting the Executive Director from the United Way. We are looking forward to asking some questions about their work and how they decide to distribute their funds.
Following dinner we are walking to the park close by and playing Capture the Flag with glow sticks!
This weekend we are heading to Louisville to spend time with the other AJSS group, celebrate the 4th of July, and celebrate two birthdays in our group!
Hope to hear from you all soon!
The Super Fun Time Committee!
(Alexa, Carlos, Rachel, and David)